Mark Driscoll’s Missed Opprotunity

Since the Christian blogosphere has been humming this week with posts about Mark Driscoll and his Facebook comment about “effeminate men” that stirred up controversy, I thought why not write a Mark Driscoll post myself. If you have not heard about this controversy you can find a summary and commentary (with opinion) here and here. I am not going to talk about the now infamous (and deleted) Facebook comment nor am I going to talk about his kinda, sort-of, apology-esque, reaction post.

Instead, I want to talk about a story Mark uses in his reaction post. Go ahead and read Mark’s post, specifically the section under the headline “Some Backstory.” Apparently, Mark meets up with a real dude and if you know anything about Mark Driscoll, you know he likes real dudes and thinks of himself as a real dude. The guy has got a pickup truck and a hard hat, I mean how much more dude can you get. And I don’t mean this Dude. The dude told Mark that he visited a church, but the male music director or pianist or organist was “effeminate.” Mark admits this was not the word said dude used and I can probably guess what word he did use.The dude then asked Mark if this was the kind of man God wanted leading music during worship according to the Bible.

This was Mark’s opportunity. His opportunity to explain to this dude that the music person in question is a child of God, made in the image of God, and redeemed by the grace of God in Jesus Christ and because of that his outward appearance or personality has no bearing on his intrinsic worth. Mark could have also explained that if the dude had a problem with this man then it really was the dude’s problem and not the music man’s problem. Mark could have quoted Paul from Galatians 3:28 and explained to the dude, in love, that being effeminate is not something to have a problem with and that the music man was offering his gifts and talents to God in worship and the dude should do likewise. This is what I would have done if presented with the same situation and it is what Mark should have done.

Of course you can already guess, or you already know from reading the post, that Mark did not do any of that. Instead, Mark uses the example of David as God’s preferred type of music leader. Mark explains that David not only played music, but he was also a badass on the battlefield who  “started killing people as a boy.” So apparently Mark believes that God wants a cross between Ted Nugent and the Terminator to lead music in worship.

What Mark does here is not only mislead the dude Biblically, yes David killed tens of thousands, but he also danced in his underwear and was rebuked for it, that is not exactly manly behavior, at least according to Mark, but Mark also condones, at least passively, this dude’s homophobia. Mark allows the dude to believe that it is perfectly OK for him to be uncomfortable with an “effeminate man” when it is not OK to be uncomfortable with a man who is just playing music in worship.

I do not know Mark Driscoll personally and I do not know the full breadth of this conversation, only what Mark himself posted. I am not making a generalized judgment about Mark nor am I calling him a homophobe or a bad pastor. I am saying that God provided Mark with an opportunity to demonstrate the love of God to this dude and he missed the mark. I do not condemn Mark for missing the mark because I also have missed the mark on several occasions. However, we can learn from Mark’s mistake and we can be prepared for when these opportunities come around again.

  1. #1 by Teri Peterson on July 13, 2011 - 9:58 pm

    The first thing I thought when I read Mark’s post was “but David was “ruddy and handsome in appearance” as well as playing the harp, singing, and dancing.” and we all know he wasn’t, umm, “one of them” (whatever that means) because he totally made up for the Jonathan thing with the Bathsheba thing.
    And then I turned off my snark, because it was unhelpful, and your post was a zillion times more loving and more awesome.

    I love your response and hope it’s the one more people will choose to use when confronted with similar situations!

  2. #2 by Jo Malone on July 13, 2011 - 10:04 pm

    Nicely put. We can all learn from this and hopefully think on this if we are presented with a similar opportunity.

  3. #3 by David Mantel on July 13, 2011 - 10:23 pm

    I was hoping you would bring The Dude into this conversation. I also agree with you, totally.


  4. #4 by Chris Blackstone on July 14, 2011 - 8:21 am

    Brad, I agree that Driscoll’s words were poorly chosen but you’re don’t tell the whole story when you write that David was rebuked for dancing in his underwear. If you look at the verses that directly follow your citation, you will find David appealing directly to God who appointed him as king and before whom David will gladly dance “like an idiot” (my paraphrase). Michal (who rebuked David) is then said to have had no children until her death. I take that to be God’s punishment of her sinful act against David and, by extension, God since He appointed David as king over Israel. We have to then assume that the rebuke was wrong since it resulted in punishment.

    Not all rebuke is right and good. The wrong kind is definitely that which includes name-calling.

    And not many people have actually engaged with the idea behind what Driscoll wrote. The lack of corporate singing is epidemic in the American church ( as is the lack of men in church ( Why is that? In large part because the congregation doesn’t see in their worship leader someone that should be modeled as a man, or woman, of God. Whether it’s being unnecessarily ostentatious or fashionable or “showy”, worship leaders often put out a “performance” vibe rather than a “worship” one. What does a worshipful atmosphere look like? There’s not one simple answer, but I can guarantee if the bulk of the congregation is singing, and most importantly most of the men are singing, it’s “masculine” worship and more faithful to the corporate worship described in the Bible than the current “music concerts” that many churches call corporate worship.

    • #5 by Brad S on July 14, 2011 - 9:20 am

      Chris, I appreciate your feedback. I am curious though, what is “masculine” worship? Or rather what makes worship “masculine” or “feminine” for that matter?

      It is true that fewer men attend worship and churches have scrambled to change the way they worship and Mark Driscoll preaches his MMA Jesus to attract men. However, what if the problem is not on the side of the church, but on the side of the men? In other words, maybe it is not the Church that needs to change, but the men themselves?

      I also challenge the idea that God punished Michal with childlessness. I do not read in 2 Samuel that God specifically “cursed” Michal and I certainally do not consider women today who cannot bear children “cursed” by God.

      Just some thoughts and again than you for your feedback.

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